Friday night’s Prestige FC 3 event in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, was headlined by portly slugger Eric “Butterbean” Esch (14-10-1) against Sandy Bowman (3-0), a 40-year-old local fighter who Sherdog identifies as a former lightweight who swelled up to 223 pounds for the opportunity. Esch held a 150-pound weight advantage in the cage, but it wouldn’t be of any help that night.
Ten seconds after the bell, Bowman lands a head-kick that topples ‘Bean like a defective Weeble. After some elbows from Bowman from the top, Esch realizes that he ain’t getting up without assistance, and taps due to strikes at 0:54 of round 1.
Last night’s MFC 31 wasn’t the only MMA card our friends north of the border were treated to. Astute readers may have also remembered that Instinct MMA made its promotional debut in Quebec, Canada last night as well. The night’s main event pitted ex-hockey enforcer Steve Bosse against UFC veteran Houston Alexander. With a combined fourteen knockouts in twenty victories for the pair, you probably guessed that someone was going to get knocked out. And my God did these two deliver.
Keeping those words from the first collection in our hearts, we’ve assembled the second installment of moments in MMA that some of us (mostly the athletes involved) would like to forget. The rest of us, we want to see those moments saved forever, preferably in a graphic format that loops endlessly.
First, get your mind right with a fight video from the dark ages of MMA, when any human with a pair of pajamas and some Tae Kwon Do could try that crazy ultimate fightin’ stuff. It was 1998, and Travis Fulton had already had over sixty fights. His opponent was Jeremy Bullock, a skinny guy that probably really liked Bruce Lee movies. Make sure to watch Bullock’s interview, where he shares his keys to victory with everyone, including Fulton. Also watch the fight, where Fulton shares his love for a good pro wrestling-style chokeslam with everyone, including Bullock. (Reportedly, Bullock thinks Bruce Lee is a fucking asshole these days.)
Once you’re done with that piece of history, come on in and we’ll share more moments of infamy, awkwardness, stupidity, and shame. It’s Fail GIF time, kids; let’s party.
As always, big ups, props, and mad respec’ to the GIF masters and the websites that host them: Chris Bunch o’ Numbers, Uncle Justice, Damn Severn, Zombie Prophet, Caposa, UpstandingCitizens, MMA-Core, IronForgesIron, and MMATKO. If we forgot you, it’s not on purpose.
He made his bones knocking out palookas in the Toughman circuit in the ’90s, before transitioning into an MMA career where he was usually matched up againstother oddly-shaped fighters. But now that he’s older and wiser — and still enormous — all Butterbean wants to do is protect and serve. That’s the premise of a new reality series called Big Law: Deputy Butterbean, which premieres August 9th on the Investigation Discovery channel.
The show follows Eric Esch (aka Butterbean, King of the Damn Four-Rounders) and his partner Deputy Adam Hadder as they patrol the streets of Jasper, Alabama, tracking down crystal meth labs and unsanctioned rib-eating contests. Will the 400+ pound ‘Bean be forced to scale a chain-link fence during a pursuit? Will Steven Seagal come in for a guest-spot? These are serious questions that need to be asked now.
Our photographer friend Jason Wright was in attendance at Friday’s LFC 43: Wild Thang show at the 8 Seconds Saloon in Indianapolis, and provided us with some exclusive shots from the main event — Eric "Butterbean" Esch vs. Deon West — as well as a rundown of the fight. More photos after the jump. Enjoy.
Deon West is introduced as an MMA fighter specializing in "Twinkie boxing" and "Little Debbie wrestling". No kidding. The announcer is barely able to keep a straight face. West has a pro record of 2-2.
These guys have a combined weight of just over 800 lbs. I’m standing on a little shooting perch attached to the side of the cage and all I can think about is how big of a jolt I’m going to get if these guys go hard into the fence. I really don’t want to fall off my little platform. Maybe Butterbean will land one of those big haymakers I watched him land so many times back in his boxing days so I can avoid the embarrassment of being launched from my platform.
The horn sounds and it takes less than 30 seconds for West to push Butterbean hard into the fence across the cage from me. I was right, the whole thing shook like an 8.3 earthquake just rocked the joint. It was a good thing I was anticipating it. West picks up the big ‘Bean and slams him hard. That was an impressive lift! Bean lands on his back in half guard and covers up. Bean spends the remainder of the round on his back getting pounded on by West, who gets side control and even takes the Bean’s back at one point. It looks like it might get stopped, but Bean does enough defending and throwing the occasional strike or knee to keep the ref at bay. That was a very one-sided beating. 10-9 or even 10-8 West.
Having watched quite a few of Eric "Butterbean" Esch‘s MMA fights over the years, purely for the comedic value, I’ve taken to calling him "Turtle," because every time he got on his back he was fucked.
Despite joining American Top Team — a camp known as much for its high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts as it is for it’s dangerous strikers, Esch has done very little to round out his game in his nearly seven years in the sport. He’s basically just an older, fatter version of the hard-punching jobber he was in boxing.
So when he says things like "Mariusz Pudzianowski is going to be the best heavyweight in the world in two years," his opinion doesn’t hold much water.
He could be trying to talk up the terrible showing he had against The World’s Strongest Man" last weekend in Poland in a first round TKO loss that looked suspiciously like a WWE work, but if TurtleButterbean truly believes that Mariusz will be the next Fedor or Brock, Moosin might want to reconsider having him as its spokesperson.
"He’s learning very much. He’s come a long way. In two years, I don’t think there would be anybody out there that would be able to compete with Mariusz. So, Poland, they might have to wait two years to have the best MMA man out there. But it’s coming. He’s learning very, very fast," Esch said in an interview after his KSW bout last weekend. "He’s a very smart man. He’s not stupid. He’s very smart. I’ve never said anything bad about Mario, other than he punches like a girl. But he’s a very smart man, very nice, very strong. Two years he’ll be unbeatable."
After a laughably transparent hype-up, Mariusz Pudzianowski and Eric "Butterbean" Esch squared off Saturday night at KSW 14 in Lodz, Poland. The main event was a disaster before the fight even started. Check out the above video, in which an underprepared Polish soul-singer named Mateusz Krauwurst absolutely murders "The Star Spangled Banner" in a botched tribute to Esch’s homeland/shorts. For reference, here’s a quick phonetic transcript:
"Ohhh say can you see Mah’downse, duh-early lied Were so proudly behaaaaaaved Byyyyy the twilight’s that leaving [pause, scattered laughter] Hair the rockets were glare And the rockets were glurrrrrr… [singer nervously hums, then quits]"
It didn’t bode well for the 450-pound American power-puncher. And unfortunately, the fight was just as embarassing…
When James Toney meets Randy Couture at UFC 118 next Saturday, he’ll be attempting to prove the dominance of the "sweet science" over that weird stuff that gay skinheads do. Of course, he won’t be the first pugilist to try to beat an MMA fighter at their own game — boxing vs. martial arts challenge matches have been around since before "Lights Out" was born. Join us as we take a look back at the brave boxers who preceded Toney…and what became of them.
MILO SAVAGE vs. "JUDO" GENE LeBELL December 2, 1963
Arguably the first sanctioned MMA match in American history, Savage vs. LeBell came together when legendary judoka/actor Gene LeBell answered a challenge from boxer Jim Beck, who claimed that a professional boxer could beat any martial artist. (Yep, they’ve been making the same boast for almost 50 years.) According to LeBell, he was expecting to fight Beck himself in the televised match, but his opponent was switched at the last minute to Milo Savage, a top-5-ranked light-heavyweight who was allegedly wearing brass knuckles under his fingerless speed-bag gloves, and was greased from head to toe. Despite the disadvantages, Gene sunk a lapel choke in the 4th round and put Savage to sleep. But as with most stories involving Judo Gene, the details are somewhat debatable; this Jonathan Snowden article debunks several aspects of LeBell’s version. Still, LeBell vs. Savage deserves credit as the first MMA-style fight on television, and set up a rivalry between boxing and martial arts that’s somehow still relevant today.
MUHAMMAD ALI vs. ANTONIO INOKI June 26, 1976
It sounded like good, harmless fun — the greatest boxer of all time taking on Japanese pro-wrestling kingpin Antonio Inoki in an exhibition match in Tokyo. But in the days leading up to the show, bizarre rules were added that restricted certain attacks. Most notably, Inoki could only kick if he had one knee on the ground. So, he scooted around the ring kicking Ali’s legs for the entire 15-round duration. Ali only landed six punches the entire fight and went home with two blood clots and an infection. The bout was ruled a draw, and has garnered a reputation as one of the ugliest fiascos in the history of combat sports. Fun fact: The referee of this match? None other than mixed-fighting pioneer Gene LeBell.
Although it wasn’t rocket science to disseminate the press release sent out by Esch’s Moosin promotion in which Butterbean hurled James Toney-esque insults like "he hits like a girl" at Pudzianowski. It appears the release, although not in any way newsworthy on its own, was simply an attempt at building a grudge match for the KSW card.
I’m going to go all in and bet that KSW will be lending Moosin some of its fighters for their next show in Chicago, especially since the promotion has said that they are targeting markets that heavily are populated by Polish descendants.
Also on the card is a lightweight tournament featuring six fighters, including Swedish-born UFC veteran Per Eklund and Finnish white trash supremacist Nikko Puhakka.
(If a regarded submission and kickboxing specialist like Butterbean thinks Pudz needs to round out his game, it must be true.)
It didn’t take long for Moosin USA promoter Eric "Butterbean" Esch to go into damage control when he saw his potential October 9 main event slip through his fingertips.
A day after Sherdog’s Loretta Hunt quashed Moosin executive Corey Fischer’s claim in a report by MMAFighting that the promotion was finalizing a marquee bout between Kimbo Slice and Mariusz Pudzianowski for the planned Chicago show, Butterbean has spun the situation in a press release sent out by the organization earlier today.